Legendary Ghanaian full-back John Paintsil has charged players of the Black Stars to play to Akonnor’s instructions in the 2021 AFCON qualifier against Sudan.
The Black Stars will lock horns with the Sudanese at the Cape Coast Stadium on Thursday, November 12.
Akonnor who will be taking charge of his first competitive game has been dealt a massive blow with key players set to be absent.
Speaking in a GhanaWeb interview, the two-time World Cup participant said that the Black Stars can win the game if the players adhere to Akonnor’s style and tactics.
He entreated the players to play their hearts out and focus on delivering the three points for Ghanaians.
“They have a great coach with enough experience as a coach and player. The players also need to understand that the coach trusts them that is why he brought them. He has confidence in them to do a job. The players should play from their hearts and listen to the coach because the coach has tactics so they should stick to his plan”.
“I’m sure the coach has watched the Sudanese and knows where he can hurt so he will designate players who can get him the result. The players should stick to the coach’s plan and make sure it works. I’m confident Akonnor will work magic for Ghana”.
Akonnor has had to make seven changes to the team following injuries to some key players, as well the inability of some players to honour the call-up due to Covid-19 fears.
The latest and perhaps biggest of the absentees is midfielder Thomas Partey who suffered an injury for his club Arsenal.
Paintsil admits that missing Partey is a huge setback for the team but Akonnor must work things out.
He said that after two matches in charge, Akonnor should have a back up for his star midfielder.
“He has had an opportunity to play friendly matches and knows which players are ready and which ones are not. We should know that he has a replacement for Partey”.
“I think Akonnor will use his experience to turn things around. That’s why he wants to try a lot of players and this is where we are going to know who’ll replace him. I think we’ll definitely have someone who will replace him and play the same way as Partey. His absence is definitely going to affect the team but I believe that we have a coach who will turn things around”, he told GhanaWeb.